A 1-year old Shephard-mix became an unwitting drug mule when he arrived at New York’s JFK International Airport on a flight from Puerto Rico with over $1 million worth of heroin stashed in a false bottom inside his crate.
Two men, Carlos Betancourt-Morales, 27, and Samuel Seabrooks, 35, were arrested and charged with conspiracy and possession on a controlled substance after Betancourt-Morales was stopped by police as he rolled the 86-pound crate toward an exit.
The pair had met up earlier that night, around 6pm, at a Bronx IHOP before driving in separate cars to the airport to pick up the dog, according to a criminal complaint. They arrived at JFK around 7pm and chatted briefly before Betancourt-Morales went inside to the American Airlines’ cargo area and signed a delivery receipt for the crate.
Police found 10 one-kilogram bricks of heroin, with a street-value of more than $1 million, wrapped in plastic wrap and stashed beneath a false bottom inside the crate.
Although Seabrooks denied any knowledge of the drugs, Betancourt-Morales told police that someone in Puerto Rico had arranged for the pair to meet up before heading to the airport.
Both men were arrested, taken into Queens criminal court on Sunday night, and held on $500,000 bail. They face 20 years each in prison if they’re convicted.
The dog is now in the care of the ASPCA and is being evaluated by a veterinarian. While the investigation is ongoing, an ASPCA spokesperson would not say whether the dog will eventually be made available for adoption.
It is currently unknown whether the men will face additional charges relating to the dog.